Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday: H-E-L-P

I have several projects going on, all in different stages. But the priority is Levi's quilt.
His third birthday is just around the corner. It would be awesome to have this completed by the 27th but that may be a bit optimistic. So here are my questions (and for those of you who have already answered these questions by email and wonder why I'm asking them yet again, thanks for your invaluable input. I am clearly lacking any self-confidence whatsoever to just jump in and get started...):

1. This will be done using a walking foot. Because that is what the designer used. It will be all staright line quilting, 1/2 inch apart, following the colors. I'm anticipating a lot of twisting and turning, but I don't have a clue how to freemotion. So am I nuts to use the walking foot?
2. It will be quilted with khaki thread to avoid making countless thread changes. Would you use the same color in the bobbin? (The back of the quilt is the bright turquoise blue.)
3. What do you usually set your stitch length at?
4. What is your favorite way to start and stop in the middle of a block?
5. Basting: at first I was going to use safety pins but now I'm thinking of spray basting. Can you successfully spray baste a twin-size quilt top?
6. Anything else I should take into consideration?

7. Am I overthinking the whole process and making it seem harder than it really is?


05 08
robynjoy said... #

Spray baste! It is so much easier then the safety pin method. I spray basted a twin size quilt just this morning. Took me like 20 minutes tops.I use 505 spray and fix, it works the best! Good luck.

Jennifer said... #

I wouldn't do anything BUT spray baste a quilt that size. Pinning and more pinning will wear you out plus I like being able to quilt without having to stop to take pins out every 10 seconds.

Straight line quilting will look great! I set my stitch length to 3.5 so the stitches are a little more defined. I would use the same bobbin thread because even the slightest tension issue will show if you have a different colored bobbin thread.

I looked at the designer's quilt and I can't really tell... is she doing straight lines from one end to another or is she changing with the blocks?

My best advice: just go slow and let the walking foot do the work. If you push or pull the quilt too much, things will shift and the rows will end up wonky.

You can do this!

Jennifer :)

Jolene said... #

First of all, I LOVE this quilt. I'd recommend doing straight lines all the way across, rather than following the design. It would be much easier and you wouldn't need to stop and start in the quilt top. I'm not trying to discourage you from your plan, but just an idea from a lazy quilter!

Lauren Phelps said... #

I love your quilt! Spray basting is a must! I'm lazy too. I'd just do straight lines across or a grid of some sort.

Carla said... #

Hello my friend! I love this quilt and so will Levi. I agree with everything everyone above me has already other words, avoid starting and stopping in the middle of the quilt. Sew from one side to the other and then change directions, and sew back the other way. It will be tedious and you will think you'll never finish, but you will absolutely LOVE the result!

CityHouseStudio said... #

Your quilt is absolutely beautiful, WOW!

I agree with the straight line quilting advice already given, and set by stitch length to 3.5, too. And I always use the same exact thread on the top and bottom of the quilt to avoid tension issues.

On another note, I never spray baste, because I don't like breathing in the fumes (and I live in the north, so it's often not warm enough to lay out a quilt outside!). You don't have to use that many pins to pin a quilt top -- just stretch it pretty tight, tape the backing to the floor, and go for it (maybe ask a friend to help!)


Marci Girl said... #

I am unable to answer any of your questions, as I have not done this yet either, and am looking to purchase a walking foot for my machine! Good luck, the quilt is beautiful!

Deborah said... #

I only use 505 spray baste. I've tried others and they can be very noxious. I think you can get a great look with a longer straight stitch in the style of RPQ. I agree that a walking foot will do a lot of the work for you.

elle said... #

A walking foot is great and I'd just walk it from side to side. A longer stitch length is attractive but also accomodates the thickness of the layers. The best tension is same thread top and bottom but different colours of the same brand is okay if the tension is balanced. If you don't want to twiddle with it then maybe there is enough turquoise in the the top to use that colour for top and bottom.

Unknown said... #

This quilt is gorgeous! I can't wait to see the finished product. I have never spray basted but lately it seems all the rage and it seems to be incredibly effective. Definitely use a walking foot. You'll be fine!

Sewhappy said... #

Hi there. First and most important relax, you will be surprised what a difference that will make. Make sure that there's plenty of room around you when your quilting and support the quilt well (amazing how heavy it can be) Definately use a walking foot. Main thing is to enjoy it. Have a practice. (I would consider a larger space between the quilting lines)

Allison said... #

Your quilt is so lively and energetic, perfect for a little boy :) I would use the khaki thread in the bobbin as well, and if you do decide to follow the colors with your quilting, the lines will make a nice pattern on the backing.

My machine doesn't do that automatic-knot-thingy, so when I need to start or stop in the middle of a quilt top, I pull gently on the top thread-tail. This will pull up a little loop of the bobbin thread - use a pin or stiletto to pull on the loop so the bobbin thread comes up to the top, then tie a knot and clip the threads close. You could pull the top thread to the back, but when your quilt is under the machine it is easier to pull threads to the top, and it really doesn't show.

Turning to follow the colors shouldn't be difficult, but it will be more time consuming than stitching straight across. Just stop with your needle down, raise the pressor foot, pivot quilt, lower foot, and stitch on.

Consider what is most important to you - the design or the deadline? If it is important to you to follow the colors and finish by the 27th, consider hiring a babysitter or mother's helper for an afternoon so you can focus on your quilting.

I'm sure you will do a great job on the quilting :)
Happy Birthday to your little one!

Tapestry Tree said... #

I pin baste, but use a tool called the Quick Klip. That way my fingers aren't so sore from closing all those safety pins. I also use the curved quilters safety pins. I would use the same color in the bobbin as the top thread. I would not stop and start, I think as I changed directions, I would just travel the quarter inch to the next direction and turn the quilt and go. When I do have to stop and start, I use the "fix" button on my machine. You can also leave a 4-5" tail and later come back and thread the tail on a needle and bury the knot.

Julia said... #

I like free motion quilting but when I looked at the designers finished quilt I changed and thought I would use the walking foot. This is a lot of twisting and turning but the quilting is a big part of the design on this quilt. I say spray baste. A nice tutorial online. I would also consider the straight line quilting from edge to edge. It's a similar look and way easier. This is a kid quilt. I agree with Elle on thread colors. At least use the same type/weight of thread and try it first on same practice piece. Any tension issues show but if it's good, it's good. PRACTICE. I would think about Allison's advice, design or deadline. This quilt looks big so support on the left side of your machine is crucial. Can't wait to see it done.

BijouxBaby said... #

I'm borrowing all your comments. I've got a similar quilt that I'm trying to figure out the quilting on. Straight across would be easiest, but I think going around the corners would be the best solution. If you take the easy way will you look at the quilt a year from now and be disappointed? Your son is 3, he won't remember if you got it done on time, or a week after his birthday. Do what you think is the best long term solution.

Jen said... #

Here's my 2 cents:
1.) use a walking foot. That is a must. Like jen said, let the walking foot do the work. If you smooth, straighten and stretch, you'll get puckers. (I just posted about this a couple posts back!)
2.)I'd use the same thread in the bobbin. i've done a different thread, but it's always risky b/c if your tension isn't perfect, it looks a mess. Just be safe and use the same for both sides, it will look nice.
3.)I don't do too much straight line quilting so I don't know off hand what my stitch length is. I do set it higher around 3 or more. Do a test on a small quilt sandwich to see what you like. I usually just do it to what looks good.
4.)no tips on starting and stopping. I don't do it much. I think i do one or two back stitches on each end.
5.) SPRAY BASTE! It's all I EVER do. I couldn't imagine having to stop every 4-6 inches to remove pins! Yuck! I hate basting, it sucks, but it's gotta be done. 505 is good spray baste. use that if you can find it. The more money it is for the spray, usually the better. you can find some that is cheap, but you have to use A LOT and it's not very good.
6.) I would consider just doing straight lines across or down instead of going with the pattern. It does look nice by the designer, but that is a ton of work for your 1st time doing it. It will still look really really nice just going across the whole thing in straight lines. In either direction or both in some sections. you could go across the width in straight lines 1/2" apart, then every 6 inches (or however many inches)going up and down, do rows of lines. then skip 6" then do another 6" of lines up and down.
7.) when you go to quilt this, do it on a large dining room table or another BIG table. Set your machine as far right as you can on the table and then use the table to hold the weight of the quilt. you don't want it hanging b/c then it will pull.
8.) HAVE fun with it. Straight line quilting is beautiful and this is the perfect quilt for it. But personally, I think it's hard. Every time I do it, I go into it thinking, oh this will be easy. Then as I'm doing it I say, "why am I do this vs. free motion quilting!? free motion is so much easier!" Good Luck Cindy, you'll do fine! It' doesn't have to be perfect. It's a quilt for your grandson, from his will be special no matter what!

Terriaw said... #

1. I think a walking foot is a good idea if you're going to do straight line quilting.
2. Khaki thread on the front and the back sound good to me.
3. I set my stitch length at about 3.
4. Don't have an answer for this one.
5. I hate pin basting, so I would probably spray baste.
7. Yes! Just do it! (and enjoy it)

Anne at Film and Thread said... #

You've already gotten tons of good advice, so I'm not sure I have much to add but to say, good luck and it is already a beautiful quilt!

randi said... #

wow! this quilt is fantastic! i love those colors!

Emily said... #

With the design of this quilt being so busy I think doing it in solids works beautifully! Then you can "see" the design and appreciate it's intricacies. Can't wait to see it finished.

Crystal said... #

This quilt is so, so beautiful, Cindy! I can't believe there are so many tiny pieces! You're amazing!

I agree with pretty much everyone...quilt a straight line across the whole quilt. Stopping and starting and turning will be so hard and annoying after a little while.

On the other hand, you spent a lot of time working on this quilt so you should quilt it whatever way feels right to you. I don't want you to regret not finishing this the way you want to.

On the other hand...this quilt is already so beautiful that whatever you choose will only make it look more maybe go with the easier quilting. ;)

Debbie said... #

Your quilt it beautiful and my, what alot of great advice! I agree with the straight line vertical. It'll still give you a terrific look! Good luck!

Lee said... #

WOW. This quilt is INCREDIBLE. I didn't realize until I looked closely at it that it's pieced from all those skinny strips! Amazing!

I agree that twisting and turning and following the colors will be a huge pain, but if that's your design vision for the quilt, I think you should go for it. I use my walking foot all the time and I love it. Good luck!

felicity said... #

My suggestion is to echo the above advice. Walking foot, longer stitch, same thread, just go across and down. I wouldn't want to futz with turning that size of quilt that many times. But then again, I am LAZY.

My only disagreement is about the spray basting. I don't want to breathe it in so I pin. It isn't a problem at all to remove them as you're going because straight quilting is a lot easier to stop and start up again when you're taking out pins.

Do have fun with this MOST beautiful quilt!